T cells of mice display V beta-specific reactivity for a spectrum of mouse mammary tumor virus (Mtv) antigens; confrontation with these antigens during ontogeny causes substantial "holes" in the T cell repertoire. Since endogenous Mtv antigens are rare in other species, the question arises whether V beta-specific recognition of Mtv antigens is unique to mice. To examine this question, rat T cells were allowed to differentiate from stem cells in severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) mice. These rat-->mouse xenochimeras were prepared under a variety of conditions. The results show that rat T cells are strongly reactive to mouse Mtv antigens, both in terms of tolerogenicity and immunogenicity. In fact, the V beta specificity of rat and mouse T cells for Mtv antigens is almost indistinguishable.

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